Last Updated on February 24, 2023 by Mattias
Watering your plant at the right time is one of the most crucial parts of home gardening. Correct watering is a life/death situation that ultimately decides your plant’s fate. Despite its significance, many new home gardeners and veterans often neglect this factor.
Always remember that not only does the quantity of water matter, but the time of day also plays an important part in the plant’s health.
There are some worst times to water plants, and if you want to avoid them, then keep reading this article.
Worst Time to Water Plants
Generally, the worst time to water plants is midday and nighttime. Both of these hours are bad because of sun exposure. Sun is at its peak during midday, meaning the water will evaporate quickly, and your plant will have little left behind to absorb. Meanwhile, during the night hours, the lack of heat will cause the water to stay on plants for longer, and fungal diseases/pests will be attracted.
Now that you have the standard answer, you must be curious as to why these times are bad for your plant. Unless you clearly understand the root cause, you won’t be able to comprehend the severity of the situation.
Let’s dig into some more details so that you can understand your plant’s needs better.
Read also: How Often Do You Water Succulent Plants? Complete Guide 2023
You should not water your plants at nighttime because the soil’s heat capacity is high. This means that soil can contain heat from sunny days and utilize it during colder nights to keep itself warm. This is precisely why the soil is slightly warmer despite the cool temperature at night.
Watering your plants at nighttime is considered dangerous because this combination of warm soil and cool air creates an extremely humid environment for your plant, and roots are prone to mold.
Another reason you should avoid watering at night is the lack of sun exposure. If you water your plant top to the surface, droplets will remain on the leaves and stems for longer instead of evaporating. This can give birth to several fungal diseases, including root rot.
Since there is no heat at night, water might not be drained properly, and soil may get waterlogged.
Plants should not be watered after 6 pm or just before sunset.
How To Water Plants At Night?
If your plants look awfully dry and you haven’t watered them all day long, then take these precautions while watering at night.
- Water the soil rather than the plant itself
- Use less water to avoid waterlogging the soil
- Use irrigation tape or a soaker hose
Another worst time to water plants is midday (late morning to early afternoon)
Even though many people believe that watering your plant in the heat of the day is beneficial, that’s not true at all. The sun is at its peak during this time, and the temperature is stronger than the entire day, so when you water your plant, most of it evaporates before the soil even gets a chance to absorb the necessary supply.
You’ll not water again, thinking the plant has received its daily intake when your plant will be suffering. The heat would have also caused the soil to be dry, so its air-holding capacity would be low.
When you water in the midst of this, plants will become distressed. You can say that watering at midday is entirely useless, and plants won’t benefit from it at all.
A while back, it was recommended to avoid watering during midday because people believed that if water droplets were incapable of passing through the leaf hair, they would create a lens effect and cause sunlight to burn the leaves.
Even so, this particular theory has been proven wrong. Midday remains one of the worst times to water plants.
Read also: How Often Do You Water Aloe Plants? Watering Guide (2023)
Worst Time To Water Plants (situations)
We have discussed the worst time to water plants in a day. You should remember that certain situations can also be the worst time to water your plant during its life cycle.
These situations are likely to occur at any time of the day or year, and the sun’s movement doesn’t vary, so the precautions taken to prevent them should also be prolonged and careful. Some of such scenarios are listed below.
Read also: How Often to Water New Vegetable Plants? Ultimate Guide 2023
As you may already know, many plants go into a state of dormancy during colder months. They usually don’t grow much this season and hence don’t require much water. These months are the worst time to water plants.
Furthermore, if you live where the temperature reaches below the freezing point, you’ll need to be extra careful.
Understandably, water will freeze below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), and it will be impossible for the roots to get soaked in these conditions. Even if the water does reach them, the dormant plant will not appreciate it and will likely develop root rot.
To avoid the risk of overwatering, remember to perform a touch test beforehand.
When The Soil is Moist
Regardless of the time of the day or general season of the year, if your plant’s soil is moist, wet, or even damp. Refrain from watering altogether and come back later.
If you water moist soil, your plant will risk developing root rot and other fatal diseases. Wet soil will attract fungus and mold that will feed off plant cells and ultimately send them into severe distress.
The best way to avoid this is to scrutinize the soil’s moisture. You can do this either by touch test or a moisture meter. Both methods are just as reliable.
Tip: A touch test can be performed by sticking your finger an inch deep in the soil and judging its dryness. You can also sink in a popsicle; if the stick comes out soggy with soil, it is one of the worst times to water plants.
Remember that this rule doesn’t apply to moisture-loving plants.
Consequences of Watering Plants at the Wrong Time
What happens if you can’t resist the urge to shower and water your plants at the wrong times? Let’s find out.
- Slow and stunted growth
- Wilted leaves
- Nighttime watering attracts insects
- Root rot
- Fungal diseases
Best Time To Water Plants
Now that we have talked about the worst times to water plants, there are some best times. If you keep them in mind, your plant will be healthy, vibrant, and away from the risk of dying.
Keep reading to see what these times are and why they are the best
Watering your plant in the early morning is the most suitable time because it agrees with the plant’s natural growth cycle. When you water them first thing in the morning, they’ll remain hydrated throughout the day and will be able to withstand the extreme heat.
The temperature in the early morning is relatively cooler than midday but warmer than nighttime, making it perfect for your plant. Evaporation will be slower at this time, and roots will get a chance to absorb the water properly.
It is also a good time because once the soil has absorbed the necessary water, the sun will dry out the rest. Hence, saving your plant from standing in waterlogged soil.
Late afternoon is also a safe alternative if you skipped your morning watering. The temperature may have risen a bit by this time, but there is nothing to worry about because your plants will still be in the shade.
This time is considered harmless because the sun’s peak time would have passed, and the sunlight would have lost its sharpness. The plant will not lose all of the water because of evaporation, and the roots will have a chance to seep into the supply. Another good thing is that watering in the late afternoon will leave your plant’s plenty of time to dry out before nightfall.
When is The Best Time To Water House Plants?
All these factors mainly include outside plants where you have no control over the sun’s exposure, humidity, rainfall, and all-natural environmental components. You must also wonder if the worst times above apply to your indoor house plants.
99% of houseplants do not need water at nighttime and are content with their morning water supply. Most indoor plants are also placed near windows or entrances, which means they rely on the sun’s heat.
The best time to water your houseplants would be in the morning. This way, they’ll absorb the water properly and survive the day’s heat.
Remember that when it comes to watering houseplants, it is much preferable to check their soil moisture and only water when the plant seems ready. Regardless of the time of the day, wet soil should not be watered again.
Tips to Remember While Watering Your Plants
Choose the correct method.
It is crucial to select the correct method while watering your plants. This includes all minor details such as watering medium, frequency, the quantity of water, watering method, type of water, etc.
Take a look below to understand better.
|Correct watering medium||Houseplants prefer watering cans. Meanwhile, soaker hoses or irrigation drips are better for outdoor garden plants.|
|Decide the watering frequency according to environmental conditions. E.g., less water when it has rained recently and more water when the soil is dry|
Quantity of water
|Some plants require only an inch of water, while others like excess water. The best way to decide the correct quantity is to research your plant’s needs.|
Correct watering method
|The right way to water a plant is to direct the flow toward the roots rather than the top. The plant receives its essential water supply through the roots. Meanwhile, the water on the leaves ends up getting evaporated.|
Type of water
|Tap water usually is safe for your plant. However, the presence of chlorine or fluoride in the water might be intolerable for some plants.|
Worst Time to Water Plants Summary
This article discussed the worst time to water plants in terms of daily hours and specific situations. We hope this article helped you understand the risks and consequences that would occur in case you don’t consider these factors.
Knowing the best and worst time to water plants will help you a lot in taking care of their needs. Follow the tips above to ensure a thriving and healthy yield this season.
Did you find this article helpful? Share it with your plant-loving friends and help them out as well.
Meet Mattias Jonsson, the head of content at RainSaucers. Passionate about gardening and water-related topics, he’s dedicated to providing expert information and resources to help improve your home, health, and wallet. Learn from his research and experience.